Taxi drivers’ protest – convoy of around 400 taxis arrived in front of European institutions
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    Taxi drivers’ protest – convoy of around 400 taxis arrived in front of European institutions

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    The first taxis were already arriving at the Schuman roundabout in front of the European institutions on Wednesday around 12:30 p.m. Their delegation was received at the office of Marianne Thyssen, the European commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. A 1:15 p.m. meeting was then held with the representatives of Prime Minister Charles Michel, Finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt and Bart Tommelein, Secretary of State in charge of the fight against tax fraud.

    During the meeting, the European representatives decided a study should be conducted in the 28 member states, in consultation with the social partners. As for the incidents, Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for the Brussels capital-Ixelles police zone, reported an altercation between taxi drivers and members of the police force, during the demonstration. The taxi drivers, mainly French, had refused to move off the inner ring between Arts-Loi and Rue Belliard. The situation was resolved and no arrests were made.

    During the convoy, there were several incidents of eggs being thrown. One taxi’s rear window was broken while the taxi was on duty at Porte de Schaerbeek. Some of the taxi drivers  parked there then proceeded on foot to Rue Neuve, without incident.

    Another group of taxi drivers lit a smoke grenade to mark its arrival near the Schuman roundabout.

    According to Ilse Van de Keere, around 400 taxis took part in the demonstration, 250 of which followed the convoy. Around 50 taxis protested at Zaventem airport and a hundred at Gare du Midi train station, where they set fire to tyres. They jammed various sections of the city, including Boulevard d’Anvers from 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and Place Meiser later in the morning.

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)